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Bethel Half Marathon and 5k Race, October 10, 2009, Bethel, North Carolina

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Update: Friday, October 9th.  It looks like race time weather will be in the low 60s with about 100% humidity and 50% chance of rain.  One way or another it’s going to be a wet one.  Don’t forget the Glide.

My focus here is on the Half Marathon. Not to slight the 5k – it’s a great race. The Half Marathon and the 5k run together for about two miles before the half marathoners turn south and the 5k runners head for home.

This is a great follow-up to the Asheville Citizen-Times Half Marathon. Just four weeks afterward this is your chance to run much faster. While the ACT Half Marathon is challenging with its hills, the Bethel Half Marathon is rural, scenic and relatively flat. The course is generally a figure eight. Runners start at the Bethel Middle School and just before two miles head south and encounter the only substantial hill on the course. Runners pass the starting point at about halfway and head north. This involves the only slightly annoying part of the course where runners are on NC 110. There is some traffic but there is plenty of room for runners.

I have done this race twice and both years that I ran it, I had also run the ACT Half Marathon. Both times my Bethel time was 6 minutes better than my ACT time. The last time I did this race was 2006, when I was at the top of my game. I was fortunate to finish in 1:42, 24th out of 126 runners (but 5th in my AG). I should be so lucky this year. I’m looking to get under 1:50.

This is a very well run race and the post race food is incredible — including some yummie potato soup!

Directions from the website:

From East Exit 31 I 40 Proceed under I 40 on NC 215 approximately 2 miles (watch for sign guiding you to the right after about 0.5 miles off I 40) to “tee junction” at US 19/23. Go left onto US 19/23. Proceed to third traffic light and go right on NC 110 Proceed to second traffic light (approximately 4.5 miles) to junction with US 276. Turn right onto US 276 Proceed approximately .3 miles (Bethel Grocery on left and School Athletic Field on right) turn right and proceed to the top of the hill (another “tee” junction), go right for 200 yards. The gym and registration is on the right. Registration opens at 7:30 am and closes at 8:15am.

From West Exit 20 off I 40 (US 276) Follow US 276 through Waynesville (approx 9 miles) to traffic light next to Presbyterian Church to a “tee junction” turn left and proceed to the bottom of the hill (a traffic signal). This is necessary due to closure of Main Street (US 276) for the “Church Street Festival”. Take the hard right at that light and follow that street to a stop sign at the top of the hill, bear left onto Wall Street and follow Wall Street through one stop sign and turn left at the second stop sign (you’re back on US 276) and proceed 5 miles to a meeting with Sonoma Road (it bears off to the left at an angle). Proceed on Sonoma Road approximately .5 mile to the school area and the Gym for registration. Registration opens at 7:30 am (or a bit before) and closes at 8:15am. Race starts on time at 8:30 am. For additonal help see web site or call (828) 648-6068 until Friday noon. After that call (828) 421-2640. From the Southwest: (Franklin, Atlanta, etc) Follow US 74 from Franklin/Sylva area to exit 98 (West Waynesville). Turn right at the bottom of the ramp and proceed on Main for about 3 miles (and the fifth traffic light) and take a right onto US 276 South. South Main will be barracaded at that point for a festival downtown. Follow US 276 for about 5 miles). Follow Sonoma road for about 0.5 mile to the gym, schools and registration point.

For more information and to download a registration form, visit:

http://www.bethelcomm.org/race.html

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